WASHINGTON (CN) — According to U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday, the white, non-Hispanic American population decreased by over 8% since 2010 — the first decline for that group in recorded U.S. history.
The release of the census data, which will be used for redistricting in each state, was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic and was also complicated by a legal fight over concerns the Trump administration purposefully shortened the 2020 census to undercount people in areas not favorable to the Republican Party.
A Census Bureau news release notes the number of multiracial individuals living in the country increased by 276% since 2010, with 33.8 million people with multiple ethnicities being tallied in last year’s count. In the previous census, there were only 9 million people who identified as multiracial.
Since 2010, the share of the white population dropped from 63.7% in 2010 to 57.8% last year, which represents an 8.6% decrease and is the lowest percentage on record. It’s also the first ever drop since the census began in 1790.
Still, 204.3 million people identify as white, the largest ethnic group in America, and 235.4 million identify as either white alone or in combination with another ethnic group.
The total U.S. population stands at about 332.6 million.
According to the census data, there are 62.1 million people in the U.S. who identify as Hispanic or Latino in the country, which is a 23% increase since 2010. Black or African Americans make up the second largest minority racial group in America, with a population of 46.9 million.
Thursday’s data shows the majority of people in the U.S. live in metro area, with 86% of the entire population residing in cities. That’s a 9% increase from 2010.
Marc Perry, a senior demographer for the Census Bureau, said many metro areas saw growth, particularly those in the southern and the western parts of the country.
However, he noted the overall rate of population growth in slowing in the U.S. The last decade saw the lowest growth rate since the 1930s.
“This decline is evident at the local level where around 52% of the counties in the United States saw their 2020 Census populations decrease from their 2010 Census populations,” Perry said in a statement.
Census surveyors found the American adult population grew by 10.1% to 258.3 million since 2010.
Los Angeles County remains the most populous in the U.S. with over 10 million people, according to the census, while New York is still the largest city with 8.8 million people.
Of 384 metro areas in the country, 312 have gained population in the last 10 years, the fastest growing of those areas being The Villages, Florida — a retirement community that grew 39% from 93,000 people to 130,000 in 10 years.
Housing also is on the rise in the U.S., according to the survey, with 140.5 million housing units available in the country — a 6.7% increase from 2010. Numerical growth in Texas was the highest in the country, with 1.6 million new residences being added since 2010.
Evan Brassell, the U.S. Census Bureau’s chief of housing statistics, said it is important to remember that although total housing had increased overall, home availability and the number of new units hadn’t increased uniformly.
“Counties that composed some part of a metropolitan or micropolitan area saw increases of 3.8% on average, while counties outside of these areas showed decreases of 3.9% on average,” Brassell said in a statement.
The redistricting data from this year’s census is the first to employ a technique called “differential privacy,” which uses a mathematical method to apply “carefully calibrated statistical noise” into data. That method includes entering errors into data at small levels, to protect individual privacy.